SoundCloud CEO Alexander Ljung. (Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY)
President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have signed on to SoundCloud to share their speeches. Comedian Adam Carolla, broadcaster Ryan Seacrest and musicians Kelly Rowland and Beyoncé also post their work on SoundCloud.
Its co-founder and CEO, Berlin-based Alexander Ljung, describes SoundCloud as "YouTube for audio," a place where folks can listen to homegrown bands, spoken-word podcasts and comedy. Thanks to the explosion in smartphones and tablets, and interest in all things audio, his site is on a roll.
SoundCloud now has 40 million registered users, up from 10 million in 2011, but most users don't bother registering. The website reaches 200 million unique listeners around the globe on the Web, mobile devices and on social-media sites. "That's 8% of the current online population, or 20 times the size of Sweden," said Ljung on a recent visit here. "As large as that is, with 8%, that means there's 92% missing. We have a lot of work to do."
Posting Is Easy and Free - Up to a Point
The idea behind SoundCloud is exactly like YouTube: Anyone can post their audio and share it really easily on the Web, on their blogs and websites, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social media. If the audio isn't produced, SoundCloud has a record button on its upload page for anyone to produce audio directly from their built-in webcam microphone found on most laptops and desktops.
There is a big difference between the two sites. YouTube doesn't charge to post videos, while SoundCloud only allows for two hours of audio for free. After that, the cost is $38 yearly for up to four hours, or $130 yearly for unlimited.
Some 12 hours of audio are uploaded to SoundCloud every minute.
The company is not yet profitable. SoundCloud won't reveal how many pay to subscribe, but Forbes estimates it at 5% of the registered users.
Some $45 million in funding has been raised for the company by a variety of venture capital firms, including heavy hitter Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the company behind Twitter and Flipboard, among others.
SoundCloud was launched in 2008 by Sweden natives Ljung and Eric Wahlforss, but it wasn't until a re-design in 2012 that the site started seeing its massive growth. That re-design made it much easier to share audio clips across the Web and on social-media platforms.
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SOURCE: USA Today